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  2. Fifty150

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    Here you go, mrtn. Just for you. Feds Watching: Ford’s Run Around on “Chicken Tax” Riles U.S. Customs Officials SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 AT 2:33 PM BY CLIFFORD ATIYEH 47 COMMENTS PHOTOS Marijuana smokers in decriminalized states know it best: You can light up in public and get away with it, but if they want, the Feds can crack down with alarming force. We don’t think Ford executives were high when they chose to import vans from Turkey, rush them off the boat to chop shops, and skirt federal laws in plain sight. But from the eyes of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, they’re wrong. At issue is Ford’s Transit Connect, the compact, light-duty van that’s been on sale here since 2009. (The next-generation model, which goes on sale soon, is pictured here. If you want to gawk at a dead van rolling, here you go.) Like with most imports, Ford has to pay a tariff on each vehicle to clear customs. But instead of the normal 2.5-percent tariff levied on passenger vans, cargo vans are charged a heavy 25-percent tariff. (This so-called “chicken tax” was President Lyndon Johnson’s response to high West German and French tariffs on exported U.S. chicken, and was a retaliation that would destroy commercial sales of Volkswagen’s popular Microbus.) So Ford, like many automakers before it, got creative. Even though most of its customers order the two-seat, stripped-out commercial model, Ford ships every Transit Connect to the Port of Baltimore in five-passenger Wagon trim. As soon as customs agents approve the vans, Ford whisks them offsite where a shipping contractor rips out backseats, flooring and rear windows. The brand-new parts then get sent to Ohio for recycling, and a new floor and metal stampings to cover the window openings go in place. Customs officials say it takes Ford less than 11 minutes to convert a Transit Connect from a people mover to a cargo van, and, while everyone knows Ford has been doing this for the past four years, the Feds have had enough. VIEW PHOTOS “The product as entered is not a commercial reality; it exists only to manipulate the tariff schedule rather than for any manufacturing or commercial purpose,” wrote customs director Myles Harmon in an internal document (available here; downloads Word document). To prove his point, Harmon compared the conversions to similar moves by sugar and lumber companies, which modified their products immediately after arrival. He even referenced our own first drive review to demonstrate that the vehicle was really designed to carry cargo, not people. The report, dated January 30, forced Ford to start paying the full 25-percent tariff. But the customs decision came to light only after Ford filed a complaint to the U.S. Court of International Trade on September 17. According to the filing, Ford alleged that officials incorrectly levied the tariff since the vans “have all of the features identified by these authorities as establishing that the vehicles are principally designed for the transport of persons.” Since it began paying the higher tariff in March, Ford spokesman Said Deep says the company hasn’t changed its import practices—and won’t, not even when the new 2014 Transit Connect arrives from Spain next year. Ford doesn’t anticipate raising prices to fully compensate for the losses, he says. VIEW PHOTOS “The tariff classifications are based on the condition as imported,” Deep says. “That’s based on centuries-old legal authority. What we’ve been doing has been known by customs and common knowledge,” he says, referencing a Wall Street Journal story first reporting on the company’s runarounds in September 2009. While customs officials did not respond to requests for comment, other automakers have successfully beat the chicken tax. During the 1980s, Subaru put plastic seats in the beds of BRAT models so they wouldn’t be marked as pickup trucks. Before Mercedes opened a plant to build the Sprinter in 2007, it shipped the cargo vans as kits from Germany and assembled them in South Carolina. Mahindra, which ultimately never made it over, was planning to do the same with its pickup trucks. Feature Test: 2010 Ford Transit Connect Long-Term Road Test Wrap-Up: 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite Instrumented Test: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid But while Ford protests in court, the company actually supports the tariff—along with Chrysler and General Motors—because it continues to obstruct sales of foreign-made pickups and vans from Japan, China, and other markets. In fact, a bipartisan majority of both houses of Congress are now telling President Obama to keep the tariffs, with the goal for Japan to adopt currency exchange rules and lift quantity restrictions on imported vehicles. Any debate about the chicken tax is largely moot as its definition and enforcement are so liquid. All the Japanese automakers build trucks here, without tariffs, and while the government does have a strong case against Ford—including proof that Ford’s VIN labels show the vehicles originally tagged as cargo vans—this same government is no stranger to mislabeling vehicles. Besides its double standards for fuel-economy tests, the Environmental Protection Agency, in just one example, classifies the Ferrari California as a “minicompact,” the same size class as a Scion iQ. VIEW PHOTOS View Model Details Shop Local Cars View 47 Comments Price Starting at $24,335
  3. Fifty150

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    Too political. It would "Make America Great Again". U.S.A. company producing vehicles in U.S.A. Surely there would be some sort of government incentive to build the factory and create all of those jobs. Perhaps even using U.S. Steel. Cars made by Americans, sold by Americans, to Americans. America: Open For Business. But nobody is buying. Can you imagine all the people who would boycott Ford and call them Trump-Mobiles?
  4. Fifty150

    Replacing tires 2016 TC

    Those tires look alright to me. I would still drive on them. Some of the tire shops are franchised, and they could work with you. Costco & Wal*Mart may have lower "out the door" pricing. As I drive around here in Norte Califas, I see Firestone, Big O, Bridgestone, WheelWorks, Goodyear, Manny, Moe, & Jack,. In my area, there has to be about 15 independent shops for 1 corporate chain shop. They all want your business. Make sure that you compare "out the door" pricing. Some places quote a price, say that you get free installation, then still charge you for everything as an itemized fee. "Free Installation" only means that they put on your lug nuts free of charge. You still have to pay for disposal of old tires, TPMS service, valve stems, mounting, balancing, weights, "compressed air fee", "torque application", "shop time", "the donut you ate while staring at the receptionist", and "anything else that we can make up to get another $5 per tire". Oh, and ask to see the tire before it goes on your car. Don't assume that it will be fine. I know more than 1 person who got tires "on sale", and they were old stock. Check the production date. My ex bought tires like that. I brought the car right back, and the tire shop owner agreed to replace with new tires if the the tread started splitting or the rubber started rotting. None of that "pro-rated pricing". He also agreed to fix any flats she may get "on the house" - what other people call road hazard insurance. I didn't call the Bureau of Automotive Repair, or the District Attorney's Office, and I didn't beat him up. I was younger then. With the office door closed, I could have given him a real hurting until his guys in the shop break down the door to save him. As I am more mature, I've learned that is not how you do things. Wait for him to go home for the night, and burn down his shop! My ex was one of those independent "I don't need a man" types. She had to prove to the world, or maybe prove to herself, that she was capable of getting through life without help from anyone. Worked out well in my favor. Less heavy lifting for me. Except for when the car dealership service writer sells her the $100 fuel injection cleaning, and all that they did was add a bottle of Techron to the gas tank. Or the tire shop installs tires with a date code from 5 years ago. Or when the dry cleaner adds a "pressing fee" to her business clothes. Or when she pays the extra charge for vegetarian pork fried rice (no pork). No babe. They don't make the fried rice, then pick out all the pork by hand. They just make friend rice, and not add any pork.
  5. Fifty150

    New Ford Owner

    You just wait until this thread goes off topic.
  6. Fifty150

    OEM Seat Compatibility

    Bring an angle grinder with a cut off wheel. Chop out everything that you want. Worry about carefully backing out fasteners when you get home. Really. You will want to take the rear tim panels to work with those new seat belts. Take the carpet kit. And if your car does not have one, take the rear auxiliary junction box. Maybe take the passenger van headliner too. And while your're at it, you may as well take the 3rd row seats. Just in case you want to add them at a future point in time. If you have a junk yard find, take everything that is still in good condition. Even the hubcaps. Send me a good condition set of those OEM wheels and hubcaps. I'll trade you for coil springs from a 5th generation Ford Mustang, and a boba tea drink.
  7. windguy

    Replacing tires 2016 TC

    Thanks for the input guys. I would agree that having Road Hazard insurance is worth the added expense, especially since tires for me are like magnets for screws. So far the TC has been good to me for that but I've run into some bad luck over the years. In some cases the tire can be plugged, but in others it has to be replaced if the hole is near the sidewall. After reading the warranty guide I got the feeling that there are two warranties, one from Ford and one from Continental. I need to stop by a local tire shop and discuss my options with them. We have every major chain tire store on the west coast in town but through years of elimination from bad experiences I've found America's Tire (in CA and Discount Tire in other states) to provide the best service and competitive pricing. Attached are snaps of each tire. The tire wear seems to be fairly even across each tire and among the set of tires. My crude measurement shows about 1/16" of tread left at best. Tough to tell who is going balder faster, my tires or my head 😞 I've been inflating tires per the spec at 44 fronts and 48 rears. Tires hold air very well on monthly checks but with low mileage between checks.
  8. windguy

    2017 TC XLT simple camper

    Thanks desert_connect. Interesting about those panels being a noise source when painted. I can see that happening. Underneath them is some material that you'd think would buffer any resonance. I sound proofed all the doors and I think it's helped out a lot. Something to consider down the road.
  9. windguy

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    My 2015 Gen 2 cargo model has all the mounting holes for belts and seats. There is also evidence that some of those mounting holes (seat belt mounting on both sides) were used and then brush painted kind of crudely to hide the scratches. Believe what you want but I'm assuming this van was imported as a wagon model and changed to a cargo model to avoid the tariff. On a side note, given the current troubles in Turkey, I'm sure Ford is very happy they moved production from Turkey to Spain for the Gen2 models. It would be cool if these vans were made in the US to reduce the lead time for custom orders. Current tariff policies might force that decision for Ford.
  10. Yesterday
  11. sKiZo

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    I'd love to see a pic of the older cargo van with the false floor removed. I've popped the roof on my 2011, but wouldn't mind a bit more headroom to stretch.
  12. desert_connect

    2017 TC XLT simple camper

    Thanks, HeRodeCBR! I would suspect that a bike could be loaded along side my camper bed/sofa with the foot pegs folded up. It takes up exactly half of the van, so 24" open between the wheel wells and around 25" above. There are only two turnbuckles holding the unit in place so I can remove it myself in only a couple of minutes.
  13. mountainman

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    Hey grimaldiauto, I actually started a thread about this last week. As others have mentioned, the cargo and passenger vans are actually the same. In the case of the cargo vans, a false floor has been installed behind the front seats to hide the 2nd row seat footwell and mounting points. Based on the discussion in the thread I started, it's my understanding that as long as you get seats that match your mounting configuration (60/40, two singles, etc) from a TC that's the same generation and wheelbase as yours then they should be compatible. For example, my TC is a 2014 long wheelbase model. After removing the false floor I found that the mounting points are configured for a 60/40 split bench. So any 60/40 2nd row bench from a 2nd generation long wheelbase TC is compatible.
  14. mrtn

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    Heh: Sorry, this content is not available in your region.
  15. mountainman

    OEM Seat Compatibility

    Ha! I certainly will. I just want to be sure the seat belts that end up in my vehicle are safe.
  16. mountainman

    New Ford Owner

    I'm new here too. So far the forum has been a great resource. Welcome!
  17. OLDSCHOOLFOOL

    Replacing tires 2016 TC

    Sounds like a decent program, but it seems maybe they stopped the garage part? "We have made the difficult decision to close our automotive repair garage effective July 31." I have trouble with non-profits when the "profit" starts creeping back in.
  18. Beta Don

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    Don't be misled by the Gen 2 pictures - This C&D article is dated September, 2013 https://www.caranddriver.com/news/feds-watching-fords-run-around-on-chicken-tax-riles-customs-officials If you Google 'Chicken Tax' and read about it, they say Ford got away with it on their Gen 1 TC's - The above article confirms that Don
  19. Beta Don

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    Ford dodged the 'Chicken Tax' on imported work vans up until about 2013 when the US government got wise to what they were doing (importing passenger vans and stripping them) and began taxing them anyway - Since then, there's been no reason to do so. I seriously doubt any Gen2's were imported and stripped, but the rumor persists . . . . It does make a nice 'story' Don
  20. Mike Chell

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    My 2017 wasn't stripped, Fifty. There's no holes or bracings for seat or seat belts in my back of mine. When did they change that?
  21. Fifty150

    2012 Ford Transit Van

    The van was imported with seats, then stripped. Source the seats and all hardware and you should be fine.
  22. Fifty150

    OEM Seat Compatibility

    It's in a junk yard. Take everything you need from it. Cut out the floor if you need to.
  23. Can you add a second row bench seat to a van that doesn't any. The whole back is for cargo
  24. mountainman

    OEM Seat Compatibility

    Yes. All the anchor points appear to be present and tapped. Great! I've been able to find a handful of 2nd row benches, but the ones that are geographically closest are not from 2014. Regarding the mounting hardware, a lot of the seats I've found live in vehicles sitting in a scrapyard, so I should be able to pull all the necessary hardware when I get the seat. We'll see if the seat belts are in tact in the vehicle I pull the bench from. If not, or if their condition is at all questionable, I'm willing to order them straight from Ford. It'll be a bit spendy, but it won't break the bank. I'm certainly willing to take the gouge to ensure it's safe!
  25. Ford is pleased to serve as presenting sponsor of the 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise – America’s largest annual celebration of automotive history and culture. View the full article
  26. Fifty150

    Replacing tires 2016 TC

    Ah, Vermont. You have Bernie Sanders over there.
  27. G B L

    Overheating

    Electric fan Switch or Circuit ?
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